After Jesus rose from the dead, he spent time with his disciples. What does the risen Savior do? His resurrection was not simply a neat trick. Nor was it meant to simply be to bring comfort to his immediate friends. The resurrection was a declaration that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross justified those who have faith in Jesus. The payment for our sin has been paid and no other sacrifice is needed. So what did Christ do while he met with the disciples after he rose? It seems as if when Christ met with his disciples his actions fell into one of three categories.
First, Jesus met with his disciples to strengthen their faith. We’re told in the Gospels that Peter was left in a pretty bad state after he denied Jesus three times. In accordance with Jesus’ predictions, Peter failed Jesus and before the resurrection, Peter was seen running off and weeping. In the book of John, Jesus restores Peter by asking Peter if he still loved Jesus three times. Three times, Peter affirms his love for Jesus. Even after Jesus appeared to the disciples were still full of doubt and were even afraid they were seeing a ghost. Jesus let the disciples touch his wounds and he ate food in front of them showing that he was not a ghost. The one disciple left out was Thomas who for some reason wasn’t there when Jesus first showed himself. Thomas (later known as the doubter) loudly said that he would not believe unless he could touch Jesus’ hands and his side. Later on, Jesus allowed Thomas to touch him and declared, “Blessed are those who have not seen, yet have believed (John 20:29).”
Second, Jesus had to explain the significance of what happened. The disciples may believe that Jesus rose from the dead, but they may not have fully understood what it meant. Jesus had to explain it to them. First Jesus pointed out that the events of Christ’s life was a fulfillment of Scripture. As we saw yesterday, Jesus had to explain it to the disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:26-27). Jesus had to also explain it to the rest of the disciples. “Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead (Luke 24:45-47).”
After Jesus explained that the events were grounded in Scripture, he taught them what it meant. “Repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all the nations (Luke 24:47). Jesus died so we can have our sins forgiven. His death made us right before God.
Third, Jesus gave the disciples a mission. The disciples were to carry this news to the rest of the world. The Apostles were called to be witnesses of these events (Luke 24:48). Luke tells us that Jesus told his disciples to wait for the power of the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem. Matthew tells us that Jesus gave the great commission and promised to be with them to the end of the age (Matthew 28:19-20). John tells us that Jesus breathed on the disciples and gave them the Holy Spirit. “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so, I am sending you (John 20:21).”
The Gospel is a specific message that is centered on a specific event. It answers the question: What happened? But it also tells us why it matters. Jesus who claimed to be the promised Messiah, God in the flesh was crucified by sinful people. He gave his life as a sacrifice for our sins but was raised again to life. This event changed our relationship with God. Jesus’ death and resurrection brings us reconciliation with God. It is a message that is changing lives all over the world today.
Questions for Meditation:
- How does Jesus’ treatment of his disciples after the resurrection comfort you?
- How did you hear the message of Christ? Who told you about it?
- How well can you explain the Gospel to people? If you were asked by someone what do Christians believe, how would you answer?